Among Corvette enthusiasts, the second generation of Corvette is generally considered one of the most desirable body styles ever built. With its elongated front, short rear overhang and wide selection of factory optioned engines, it acknowledges the classic European sports car archetype while adding a wholly American twist. At RK Motors Charlotte, we’ve sold some incredible C2 Corvettes over the years. While picking the nicest OEM restoration would take several meetings and a few NCRS judges, choosing the most badass pro-touring Corvette we’ve ever seen is simple: it’s this Atomic Orange 1967 convertible. The subject of a $500k+ build that included names like Katech, Paul Atkins and The Winning Collection, this car exists solely to leave other Corvettes with a devastating inferiority complex. Featuring a 700hp V8, custom C4 chassis and aesthetics that manage to seamlessly blend luxury and raw aggression, there is simply not a better pro-touring Corvette on the market today.
Rewind to 2009 and this car was nothing more than a simple white C2 convertible with a standard black interior and a 327 V8 under the hood. While many enthusiasts would have been happy to have the car in that condition, this ‘Vette was destined for a higher station. If you’ve never seen 3,000 hours of body work up close and personal, take a closer look at this Corvette’s shell. To begin with, fiberglass guru Bill Thomas stretched the front fenders 2.5” and rear fenders 4.5” while keeping the factory lines intact. While the front is relatively subtle, the back end makes a C4 ZR1 look malnourished. The muscular body also received late model door handles donated from a C5 Corvette as well as a custom Trans-Am style front spoiler. Calling a fiberglass body perfect is a huge claim but this one comes dangerously close to it. Every panel is arrow straight with fitment that far exceeds anything GM was capable of in the 1960s – maybe even today. Covering that incredible body work is a slick coat of Atomic Orange paint. A Midnight Black stripe covers the raised sections of the Stinger hood while “Katech 500” warns would-be racers exactly what they’re up against. High quality enough to catch the eye of PPG at the Goodguys Southeast Nationals, the paint work suits the cars look and attitude perfectly.
A huge part of this Vette’s aesthetic appeal lies in the trim. There isn’t a piece of chrome to be found anywhere. Up front, the bumper is covered with Midnight Black paint and sits above PIAA driving lights fitted into the original turn signal locations. The turn signals were replaced with LED’s and carefully woven into the custom front grille. At the sides, the rocker trim along with the every other piece of stainless on the car (even the door strikers and latches, light bezels and windshield frame) are coated in Teflon. More durable than even powder coating, the Teflon coatings ensures this Corvette will look just as sinister for years to come. Up top, a black cloth top keeps the elements out while contrasting nicely with the orange paint work. At the back, the rear back-up light housing was converted to an LED-lit center brake light framed by traditional round Corvette taillights. Below, the rear bumper received the same paint treatment as the front and looks great hanging above the center-mounted rectangular exhaust tips.
While this Corvette is definitely a looker, the true pièce de résistance lies under the hood – a 500cid V8 that produces 701hp and 677lb. ft. of torque with 11:1 compression and pump gas. At the core of this monster is a billet aluminum Katech block. Known for building racing engines for the likes of NASCAR and the World Challenge series, Katech added some unique features including nickel-silicon carbide-coated bores for unparalleled strength. The rotating assembly is comprised of strong forged pieces such as a Callies forged-steel crank and Katech forged-aluminum pistons. At the sides, off-the-shelf LS7 cylinder heads were upgraded with stronger springs and titanium retainers then dressed with carbon fiber valve covers. Chances are you’re reading this paragraph for more information on that super slick injection system, so we’ll end the wait: It’s an electronically controlled Kinsler cross-ram. Even the cheapest Kinsler injection setup will set you back at least $7k but on both visual and performance spectrums, it’s money well spent. The aluminum intake manifold wears a coat of Atomic Orange while the ram tubes are constructed from carbon fiber. Up front, a custom March pulley system spins a polished alternator, power steering pump and air conditioning compressor. The machined accessories complement the raw aluminum look of the block perfectly and work even better. Cooling is provided by a custom polished radiator mated to a chrome-plated dual fan setup. The mill breathes through custom headers that connect to a stainless 3” exhaust system by Burns.
Underneath the car, a no-compromises chassis is both well engineered and incredibly detailed. Behind that beastly 500, you’ll find an RPM Transmissions-built Tremec T56 six-speed manual that handles big power without breaking a sweat. From the transmission, power is channeled to a fully rebuilt Dana 44 rear differential packing 3.73 gears. Around the driveline, an upgraded Jamison tube-frame C4 chassis was upgraded with gussets and plating to better accommodate the 701hp engine. Covered in a glossy coat of black, the color contrasts nicely against Atomic Orange as well as the aluminum finish covering many of the suspension components. Fuel is stored by a C2-spec stainless steel fuel tank that has been modified to incorporate a racing-spec fuel bladder. Stance comes courtesy of adjustable QA1 coilovers at all sides. Up front, conventional tie-rod ends were scrapped in favor of Heim joints for strength and adjustability while a thick stabilizer bar helps flatten out performance in the corners. Steering is made simple with a power rack and pinion unit. Naturally, the braking system packs some serious firepower as well. This super-Corvette is reined in by a set Wilwood brakes that utilize slotted and cross-drilled rotors with six-piston calipers up front and four-piston calipers out back. To demonstrate the insane detail work on this car, even the calipers are Teflon coated with the “Wilwood” script painted in Atomic Orange. At the corners, powder coated HRE 840R wheels measuring 10 inches up front and 12 inches in the rear fill out the stretched fenders perfectly. Atomic Orange accent stripes and inner spokes perfect the look.
Between the doors, the term “cockpit” is definitely fitting. Interior master Paul Atkins created a cabin that falls somewhere between Lamborghini and fighter jet. The seats are scratch-built and feature a mix of orange leather and double-stitched black Alcantara with industrial-looking grommets. Firm and supportive, they are the perfect seat for high-performance comfort. Between those seats, a custom center console features more double-stitched Alcantara and carbon fiber while housing the leather-wrapped emergency brake handle and shifter. At the sides, black leather and carbon fiber meet Alcantara to form attractive door panels with built in LED convenience lights. From the driver’s seat, A MOMO steering wheel tops a painted tilt steering column that extends from beneath the Alcantara-topped dash. To the right of the column, controls for the push-button start and custom stereo that features a well-hidden 10” subwoofer are placed within clean black panels that look practically OEM. Instrumentation comes from Classic Industries and consist of orange-face gauges that keep taps on speed, revs, fuel level, oil pressure, temperature and battery output. In the center, a Mini Cooper toggle switch panel with protective rings that would look at home in a B-52 bomber sits above the Vintage Air climate controls. Behind the seat, a custom roll bar is tied into frame and features leather wrap on interior-facing side and Atomic Orange paint on the rear-facing half.
Documentation of the build is extensive with a binder of build photos that follow the car’s progression from basic C2 to asphalt destroyer in extraordinary detail. Even small items such as the PIAA fog light installation claim at least three photographs. Also included are copies of magazines the car has appeared in including Goodguys Goodtimes Gazette and two Vette features (one covering the engine build in depth). There is no question the car has received attention at the highest levels.
As good as our pictures are and as thorough as our write-ups try to be, this is a car that simply needs to be seen and heard in person to fully comprehend. Built by some of the best names in the business with a check very few people can honestly write, this is a celebration of the Corvette at the highest level. If you want the toughest C2 this side of Zora Arkus-Duntov’s mind, don’t miss your chance to take home this jaw-dropping 1967 convertible.